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How Architectural Technology Design Impacts Human Potential

By Maria Lorena Lehman — Get more articles like this sent to your email HERE.

‍Image Credit: © BillionPhotos.com | Fotolia

The Evolution of Technology

In the past, architectural technology design has served to improve the standard of living. From better lighting and air quality to innovative tools that free up occupant time, technology has been evolving to help alleviate occupant repetitive tasks, and other painful environmental aspects. But what if technology could do more? What if it could actually help to not only remove the unwanted aspects of daily life, but could bring much benefit to the way people live their lives? What if architectural technology could enhance the quality of its occupants’ lives by actually improving their human potential?

I read an article recently that discussed the term “intelligence amplification” with regard to the evolving role of technology design. (1) This term relates to technologies that support and enhance human intelligence. For instance, what if augmented reality worn in contact lenses could provide you with just the right information at just the right time? Could this serve to “amplify” one’s intelligence?

Defining the Purpose of Technology

The subject of “intelligence amplification” is an interesting one because it allows important questions to surface about how interactive and adaptive architectures (using technologies ubiquitously) can serve their occupants in more profound ways. For example, could an “intelligence amplification technology” help its user to “see” more, and thus, understand more about themselves, each other, and their surroundings?

By converging technology design with architectural design, building occupants can extract even more advantages from their environments. For designers, it is time to think beyond architectural technology that provides a “one-size-fits-all” state of comfort – to think in terms of the dynamic needs and goals of building occupants. One may ask: How can architectural technology design be used to advance human potential? In other words, how can environments nurture occupants to become the best versions of themselves?

Technology for the Whole Human

We need to go beyond “intelligence amplification” – to reach beyond intelligence into more dimensions that make up the whole human. After all, if architectural design is successful, it touches all of its occupant’s senses in a way that uplifts their life quality, in the moment and over time. Thus, as environments evolve with new and advancing technologies – their application can inform, encourage, and uplift what humans can do. Thus, technology which “amplifies” should be thoughtfully integrated into environments to help occupants with aspects like decision-making and goal attainment. Architectural design is at the core of this evolution, where it guides how technology can best nurture those occupants who experience its benefits.

Reference:

(1) DMello, Alvin. The Rise of the Humans: Intelligence Amplification Will Make Us As Smart As the Machines. DeepStuff.org. October 17, 2015.

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Maria: I came across your website through a reference in today's Architect Weekly ezine and am delighted I did. I'll bookmark your site and check back often. I read the first article and then the second and thirty minutes later realized how much time had passed. I've been practicing for thirty years and have always missed the stimulation of academia. I find each of your brief dissertations sort of like a day in design studio. Thanks for the inspiration.

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I am excited to see you touch a vein of values in architecture, I have been chasing myself for years. Your depth of involvement in these very deep subjects is really beautiful and passionately dealt with and well written. Sound, color and value, shape, texture, scale, smell.... all definitive measures of the spaces we should be alert to. [...] I will savor the rest of your investigation of sensuality in architecture. I'm Glad I found you.

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McLaughlin Architect
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Maria Lorena Lehman is a multi award-winning visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Tech and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. CLICK HERE to learn more.

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